By JACKIE KEOGH
DUNMANWAY now has the opportunity to brand itself as the sporting and recreational hub of West Cork.
That’s according to Cllr Declan Hurley who was speaking at the official opening of the town’s new €5.5m pool.
Cllr Hurley, who is the chairman of the West Cork Municipal District, said Dunmanway – which was once ‘the principal town in West Cork’ – has been surpassed by other towns like Skibbereen and Clonakilty.
‘Less than 40 years ago,’ he said, ‘Dunmanway was a thriving hub of activity. It won the National Tidy Towns award in 1982, Molnlycke Health Care was at its peak and providing employment to over 250 people, while Stalcop and O’Donovan Medical brought the number of jobs in the locality to 500.
‘But the fortunes of the town changed, the factories closed, and coastal communities, like Clonakilty, took off when tourism became the driving force of West Cork’s economy.
‘Now Dunmanway is fighting back. It is becoming a busy market town once again, with agriculture playing a dominant role in its revival.
‘Clonakilty has Michael Collins, Skibbereen has Ludgate, but Dunmanway has a new municipal pool and leisure facility, which is unique and could help make Dunmanway a natural home for a variety of other activities,’ he said.
Cllr Hurley thanked the Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Patrick O’Donovan, as well as Cork County Council’s chief executive, Tim Lucey, for formally opening the new pool last Tuesday and for providing €3.8m and €1.7m respectively for the project.
He also reminded the minister that an application under the 2017 Sports Capital Programme to complete the gym has been lodged with his department and asked him to look favourably on the application.